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Aberdeen 3 - 2 Hibernian

HT Score: Aberdeen 2 - 1 Hibernian

Scottish Cup Semi Final
Aberdeen scorers: Rooney 1, Christie 24, McGregor (OG) 85.
Hibernian scorers: Holt 36, McGeouch 60

22/04/2017 | KO: 12:15

Dons Prevail after Hibs Comeback to Reach Final

Derek McInnes made one change to the side from the team that beat St Johnstone as Mark Reynolds came back into the team in place of Anthony O'Connor. Niall McGinn returned to the squad after injury but was on the bench as Ryan Christie kept his place in the starting XI.

The game kicked off in perfect conditions, and the Hampden surface looked in great condition.

Incredibly, after only 12 seconds, Aberdeen took the lead. The Dons players seemed to know that John McGinn was going to take the ball from the kick-off and try and dribble his way forward. He was quickly tackled by a swarm of red shirts before Shinnie was barged off the ball and the referee waved play on. Any opportunity appeared to have gone but Darren McGregor was slack with his pass to Ambrose. Rooney nipped in won the ball back, beating the despairing tackle from Ambrose. Adam found himself through on goal and showed great composure to tuck the ball into the net. An astonishing start and great alertness from Adam so early in the proceedings.

Four minutes in, Christie got to the by-line and his dangerous low cross was just cut out by keeper Marciano. Hibs looked shell-shocked and Aberdeen enjoyed all the possession in the early stages. The Easter Road side were guilty of a number of fouls as they tried to force their way back into the game.

After 12 minutes, Cummings had his first opening but his shot was well blocked by Reynolds. On 18 minutes, Martin Boyle, who has real pace, found space on the right wing but he was very well marshalled by Considine who forced the Hibs player to run the ball out of play. Two minutes later, a quick throw-in found Shinnie in space inside the area but his pull back landed at the feet of a green jersey.

The Hibs back four continued to take chances at the back and were still getting caught in possession. The Dons players also looked a yard sharper in the midfield area and were well on top, although John McGinn was still trying to have an influence.

On 23 minutes, a nice one-two freed McLean down the right and when he was taken out by Fraser Fyvie, the former Don became the first player into the referee's book. The resulting free-kick was taken by Ryan Christie. From an acute angle, young Ryan curled the ball straight into the net at the near post. The keeper's positioning had obviously been noted and he also seemed to take a step away from his post which Ryan may have spotted, but even then it was still an outstanding finish as he had very little of the goal to aim at. It was his third goal of really quality for Aberdeen.

On 27 minutes, Hayes had his first real sighting at goal as he cut back onto his right foot but his shot went into the side netting. Hayes then had another chance to run at full-back Gray a few minutes later but sportingly put the ball out of play as Ambrose was lying injured on the ground on the halfway line.
It is a long time since the Northern Lights were being sung after only half an hour into a game at Hampden. But things were about to change.

After 33 minutes, Neil Lennon made a tactical change as he withdrew Fraser Fyvie and put on experienced striker Grant Holt. Fraser was understandably not happy, but the Easter Road manager had to do something to change the game. On 35 minutes, Boyle made a good run down the right as he beat McLean and Considine. His chipped over a perfect cross which substitute Holt, with possibly his first touch, headed past Lewis. Out of nothing it was game on again.

The atmosphere had completely changed around the ground. Hibs had a spring in their step and were a lot more competitive in the middle of the park before Aberdeen enjoyed a little of spell of possession as they tried to slow things down. McLean fired a shot from distance just past the post. Hibs then put over a couple of dangerous crosses and went in at half-time with their tails up, despite being a goal behind.

Just 20 seconds into the second half, Kenny McLean won a corner. It was floated to the back of the area looking for Considine but the Hibs defence had read the pre-planned move. A minute later, they won a free-kick in a promising position but Christie's ball was well over hit. It was then hearts in mouths stuff at the other end when Hayes completely miskicked the ball but thankfully he got just enough on it to divert the ball to safety.

On 50 minutes, Hayes broke forward and Aberdeen had a three on three but they carelessly gave the ball away and there was almost a chance at the other end. Hayes and Christie were finding space but the reds were not looking as threatening.

For minutes later, Jack won a good tackle and the ball fell for Logan. The right-back tried his luck from about 30 yards out and his shot was not far away. Hayes then beat Boyle comfortably on the left but his cross was cut out as he was looking for McLean. The Dons though were just beginning to get a bit of control back.

On 58 minutes, Ryan Christie was replaced by Anthony O'Connor. As the Dons went to a back three and were still trying to get organised, Dylan McGeouch combined with Holt and fired Hibs level. It was a great little pass from Holt which freed McGeouch but a poor goal from a defensive point of view.

It really was a game that could go either way now. Hayes had a dipping shot which was easily saved and at the other end, Lewis made a great save from Cummings but the flag went up against the Hibs striker.

McGeouch was then replaced by Andrew Shinnie - the two Shinnie brothers would finally do battle against each other after much discussion pre-match. Some 66 minutes in, and Graeme fired in a decent effort which took a slight deflection but the keeper was still able to hold the shot. A minute later, Niall McGinn replaced Mark Reynolds.

On 73 minutes, Hayes played a good ball over the top for McGinn but he was easily brushed aside. Aberdeen then again gave away cheap possession and Cummings drew a foul from Considine on the edge of the area. Cummings put his free-kick into the wall and Aberdeen scrambled the resulting corner. After 77 minutes, Holt was booked for a foul on Hayes. Jonny took a lot of knocks during the game.

As the game moved into the final ten minutes, the play became a bit nervous as both sides knew a mistake at this point would prove fatal.

McGinn showed a bit of quality that Aberdeen were needing to win a free-kick on 80 minutes but McLean blasted the effort well over. On 80 minutes, Hayes and Logan both wasted good crossing opportunities before Graeme Shinnie was booked for a trip on Holt. On 82 minutes, a long throw from Ambrose caused problems and O'Connor did well to block a McGinn shot.

With five minutes to go, Aberdeen retook the lead. Hayes, who did well to find some space, ran at the defence before unleashing a shot that looked like it would not trouble Marciano too much, until McGregor stuck out a leg and the ball deflected off him and landed in the net. The keeper had no chance as the spin on the ball actually moved it from outside to inside the post.

On 87 minutes, hearts in mouths again as Boyle almost got on the end of a knock down but Ash Taylor just did enough to get a touch and Lewis gathered. It was an outstanding, goal saving tackle. Seconds later, Cummings was almost in but Lewis came out of area to hammer the ball clear.

There were three minutes of added time and Hibs threw everything at the Dons but Taylor, Considine and in particular O'Connor won some really brave headers. Some of the defending was outstanding. In the final minute, Hibs won a corner and keeper Marciano ghosted into the area unmarked. He won a good header which was on target but Lewis coolly got both hands on it and the game was won.

After 17 years, and a lot of hurt, the Dons will be returning to Hampden for a Scottish Cup final.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, Taylor, Reynolds (McGinn 68), McLean, Christie (O'Connor 59), Rooney, Hayes, Jack.

Unused Subs: Pawlett, Stockley, Storey, Wright, Alexander.

Bookings:  Shinnie (81).
Hibernian Teamsheet
Marciano, Gray, McGregor, Ambrose (Graham 88), Stevenson, Bartley, Fyvie (Holt 34), Boyle, McGeouch (A Shinnie 63), McGinn, Cummings.

Unusd Substitutes: Keatings, Forster, Humphrey, Laidlaw.

Bookings:  Fyvie (24),   Holt (78).
Attendance: 31,969
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow
Referee: John Beaton
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead